- By Bernd Debusmann Jr
- BBC News, Washington
President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, has been criminally charged with three counts of lying when buying a firearm, after a proposed plea deal collapsed.
The indictment marks the first time the child of a sitting president has been criminally prosecuted.
A planned plea bargain to resolve gun and tax-related charges he faced abruptly fell apart in July.
All three counts relate to Mr Biden allegedly lying on forms while buying a firearm when he was a drug user.
Court documents show that Mr Biden lied on the federally mandated forms as he purchased a Colt revolver at a Delaware gun store in October 2018.
At the time, Mr Biden was a heavy user of crack cocaine.
Under US federal laws, it is a crime to lie on such documentation, or possess a firearm while a drug user.
He previously acknowledged the charges during negotiations for the aborted plea deal, a two-part agreement struck between prosecutors and Mr Biden’s legal team in June.
Under the terms of the agreement, he would have been charged with two misdemeanour counts for failing to pay his taxes on time in 2017 and 2018.
Additionally, he would also have been forced to admit to illegal possession of a firearm.
The charges are the first brought by justice department special counsel Davis Weiss, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in August.
Mr Weiss’ office had previously said he was seeking to indict Mr Biden by 29 September.
The younger Mr Biden’s legal woes have become a political lightning rod as his father seeks re-election.
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